While scanning through my feeds using the new and improved Bloglines (whose improvements I actually didn't notice until I read one of James' entries today), I ran across a timely Matt Asay post. Timely, because earlier this week, I was looking at the Mule case study, which I found to be a useful resource as well as serving as a pretty much objective endorsement for the open soure ESB.I wasn't as much surprised at the positive remarks about Mule (a product which is already proven itself as an enterprise grade ESB) as I was by a seemingly silly categorization of MuleSource's addition of an addendum to the Mozilla Public License (MPL), as 'adware' by some members of The Server Side community.
My surprise isn't driven by support of Mule nor a personal distaste of the persons who issued the comments but by an understanding of what Mule is doing and why they are doing it. Dave Rosenberg, CEO of MuleSource, took the time to respond to some of those comments here. The bottom line is, open source licenses (even ones approved by the Open Source Initiative), like anything else in the physical world, aren't perfectly complete. Plus, when dealing with the complexities of the business of software coupled with the unique requirements of open source, there aren't any blanket licenses which can provide the type of flexibility for customers and suitable IP protection for open source software companies.
As Matt stated in his post, he isn't a huge fan of attributions, but his company, Alfresco uses them nonetheless. Some of the obvious reasons are that they:
- Aren't prohibited by the OSI.
- Have their place and they serve their purpose.
- Don't cancel out the benefits of an open source model
I, much like a great deal of others, prefer 'pure open source' a la BSD style, but also realize that this isn't about preferences...it's about results. The fact remains, that until a completely sound (technical and business) replacement emerges it's pointless to trash them. The more ideal response is to invest time developing working alternatives, evaluating and formalizing them. Perhaps that sounds a bit too much like 'shut up and eat your gruel' but my point is that proactive effort licks negative back-biting any day of the week.